Part 2: Dr Matjekane on the symptoms of Covid-19

By Lifestyle reporter Time of article published Mar 31, 2020

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In the second installment of our Q&A session with Dr Mathobela Matjekane, she discusses the symptoms of coronavirus. 

When should you seek medical attention?

"Anybody that experiences the following symptoms like fever, cough, a temperature of about 38 degrees Celsius, a sore throat, shortness of breath. Sometimes they might experience nausea," says Dr Matjekane. "Or nausea with vomiting and diarrhea."

In related news, some UK doctors are calling for an urgent addition to the key symptoms list: sudden and complete loss of smell.

New data gathered by ENT UK, which represents ear, nose and throat specialists, suggests this inability to smell - and often taste - may be the very first symptom and can start within hours.

Many people appear not to develop any further signs, making a full recovery without even realising they had Covid-19, the Daily Mail reported.

They are thought to be mostly healthy young adults whose immune systems react sufficiently to the virus to contain it within the nose, preventing it spreading to the lungs, where it can cause potentially fatal pneumonia.

As a result, warns ENT UK, some Covid-19 patients are not being identified as infected or advised to self-isolate - and may well be spreading the virus to others.

Doctors are also raising the alarm because one of the first-line treatments for anosmia (complete loss of smell) or hyposmia (partial loss of smell) is a week-long course of steroid tablets.

These drugs help dampen down any inflammation that might be pressing on the olfactory nerves - those in the head that process smell signals to the brain. But steroids also suppress the immune system. So ENT specialists now fear patients with "hidden" coronavirus may find it harder to recover from the infection if doctors prescribe steroids for their smell loss.

Visit Clinimed's website for further info on Dr Mathobela Matjekane

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